Greubel and Cunningham make strong bid for World Cup spots
Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director
(518) 354-2250, email@example.com
Greubel and Cunningham make strong bid for World Cup spots
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (Oct. 20, 2012)-The competitive season kicked off with a fierce race to the finish in the first women’s and men’s two-man bobsled national team selection races at Mt. Van Hoevenberg tonight.
Pilots Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) and Elana Meyers (Douglasville, Ga.) were granted a bye onto the team for their World Championship performances last season and were used as pilot sleds in tonight’s competition, leaving the first gold medal of the season up for grabs. Drivers Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) and Jamie Greubel (Newtown, Pa.) took advantage of the opportunity and threaded together the fastest two heats to claim the lead in their respective divisions tonight.
“Tonight was a testament to the depth of our program,” said men’s head coach Brian Shimer. “Every team on the hill tonight was in contention for the lead, and the athletes are pushing one another to get better. Even though Steve and Elana weren’t technically racing, they showed World Championship form tonight, which is very exciting to see as a coach.”
Holcomb and Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.) displayed their talent by laying down a first run that was 0.40 seconds ahead of the field, while Meyers and Katie Eberling (Palos Hills, Ill.) set the pace for the women’s race by initially breaking the start record set by Meyers as a brakeman in 2009.
The record fell again when Greubel and national push champion Aja Evans (Chicago, Ill.) posted a blistering start time of 5.43 seconds. Greubel maintained their lead off the block to sneak into first with a combined time of 1:56.96.
“That was an awesome race tonight,” Greubel said. “There is so much depth and talent on our team, and it really came down to the wire. I’m so lucky to have Aja with me. It’s her third day on ice ever, and she has a start record.”
“Jamie is back,” Evans said excitedly about Greubel, who struggled back from knee surgery last season. “The first few times down the track I was a little beat up, but today I felt good. I got out there, and I don’t know about my technique, but I just used my power and aggression to blast off the start. I’m happy and ready to work on some more.”
Jazmine Fenlator (Wayne, N.J.) and Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones (Des Moines, Iowa) were the first run leaders, but trailed Greubel and Evans by just 0.05 seconds in the final run to finish second with a total time of 1:57.01.
“We knew it was going to be a tight race,” Fenlator said. “We have an excellent caliber of athletes, and it’s great to be fighting for hundredths all the way through curve 19 and 20 and to know that our team is stacked from top to bottom.”
Jones, a two-time World Indoor Champion and American record holder in the 100-meter hurdles, was excited to compete in her first race tonight.
“I’m just trying to take it all in,” Jones said. “It’s a new sport for me and there’s a ton of room for improvement. I feel bad, [Jazmine] has experience, and I’m coming in here trying to learn everything quickly. I’m looking forward to fixing some things and hammering it out.”
Olympians Bree Schaaf (Bremerton, Wash.) and Emily Azevedo (Chico, Calif.) were third with a two-run total of 1:57.80.
Cunningham and Johnny Quinn (McKinney, Texas) led the men’s race by 0.07 seconds with a total time of 1:54.51.
“It feels good,” Cunningham said. “Every single day is race day with these guys. You have four time World Champion and Olympic gold medalist on one side, and me and Cory swapping back and forth on the other side. Every day is a competition for 1-2-3, and I wouldn’t change anything- although maybe the exit of 18 on that last run.”
Cory Butner (Yucaipa, Calif.) and Jesse Beckom (Chicago, Ill.) posted identical finish times to finish second to team Cunningham with a combined time of 1:54.58.
“With Nick and I it’s always a close race,” Butner said. “I was telling Jesse before the race that it’s going to be a fight- it’s going to come down to hundredths of a second. It’s always a good race, and it’s good to see that it makes us both competitive and helps us get better.”
In third was the team of Codie Bascue (Whitehall, N.Y.) and Nic Taylor (Hayward, Calif.) with a two-run total of 1:55.04.
Racing continues on Tuesday with the first of four skeleton selection races. Please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-354-2250 with media inquiries.
1. Jamie Greubel and Aja Evans 1:56.96 (58.50, 58.46); 2. Jazmine Fenlator and Lolo Jones 1:57.01 (58.46, 58.55); 3. Bree Schaaf and Emily Azevedo 1:57.80 (58.82, 58.98); 4. Megan Hill and Maureen Ajoka 2:00.96 (1:00.36, 1:00.60); 5. Katelyn Kelly and Tracey Stewart 2:01.36 (1:00.79, 1:00.57);
1. Nick Cunningham and Johnny Quinn 1:54.51 (57.27, 57.24); 2. Cory Butner and Jesse Beckom 1:54.58 (57.29, 57.29); 3. Codie Bascue and Nic Taylor 1:55.04 (57.32, 57.72); 4. Jay Noller and Andreas Drbal 1:55.73 (57.48, 58.25); 5. Jake Peterson and Nathan Weber 1:56.42 (58.29, 58.13); 6. Bryan Berghorn and Jordan Quam 1:56.80 (58.17, 58.63); 7. Colin Coughlin and Kevin Ives 1:57.54 (58.64, 58.90);
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The United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. The USBSF would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: BMW of North America, Under Armour, United States National Guard, Kampgrounds of America, Vivat!, Global Forwarding, KBC Helmets, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Autism Speaks, Park City Lodging, EDAS/Ripxx, UberSense, Tesa Tape and Ferris Mfg. Corp. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at http://bobsled.teamusa.org.